Dennis Hong, PhD, AMFT
Hi there! I’m Dennis Hong, and I am an AMFT (associate number 122355). I am an LGBTQ+ ally and polyam- and kink-aware.
A little over a decade ago, scientists at the University of California made a startling discovery. Past studies had revealed the strong addictive behaviors laboratory animals start displaying after they have been given narcotics. Yet, when these scientists placed their mice in stimulating environments that allowed for learning and exploration, they noticed the mice were far less likely to exhibit drug-seeking behavior. The scientists realized that barren cages were themselves a factor in the animals’ vulnerability to narcotics.
This study was specifically on addiction, but there is a broader lesson to be learned here. In fact, the findings reveal the impact our surroundings have on our mental health. It suggests that many of the problematic thoughts and behaviors we engage in may not be hardwired within our brains, but instead are the product of our environment and our interactions.
This is why I’ve chosen to focus my professional work on relationships. Rather than starting therapy from a position of pathologizing and labeling problems as psychological issues, I will help you reflect first on the space you live in and the interactions with the people around you. Perhaps you feel worried or anxious. Perhaps you feel sad or hopeless. We will explore both what’s going on inside you and what’s going on around you, and in the process, we will find solutions together. Ultimately, my goal is to help you control what you can control and manage what you can’t control.
My preferred theoretical model is a blend of Solutions-Oriented Brief Therapy, Narrative Therapy, and Emotionally Focused Therapy — Solutions-Oriented Therapy to help you uncover any quick fixes we can start working on right away, Narrative Therapy to help you rewrite the uncomfortable stories you tell yourself because of the challenges you face, and Emotionally Focused Therapy to help you strengthen your relationships with the people who are important in your life.
With my background in both the sciences and the arts, I straddle left-brained logical reasoning and right-brained emotional processing in my work. My belief is that as thinking, feeling human beings, all aspects of our psyche must be considered when working to improve our relationships and our own personal mental health.
Above all else, I am a practitioner of collaborative therapy. I believe that you are the expert in your own life, and it is not my role to tell you what’s wrong and what to fix. Rather, I am here to listen to you, to offer insights when I can, and ultimately to help you develop the solutions that work best for you.